This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • A majority of Utahns have an unfavorable view of President-elect Donald Trump as he steps into office, but even more residents have a negative opinion of the outgoing president, Barack Obama, a new poll shows.
Trump holds a 46 percent favorability rating among Utahns, while 52 percent say the opposite is true about the soon-to-be commander in chief, according to a poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics. Only 14 percent of those surveyed said they had a "very favorable" view of Trump, while 36 percent said they had a "very unfavorable" view.
National polls have shown Trump with the lowest approval rating of any incoming president in the last 30 years. A CBS poll out Wednesday showed Trump with a 32 percent approval rating among Americans.
Obama, on the other hand, holds a 60 percent approval rating nationally as he leaves office, the highest since he began his presidency in 2009, a CNN/ORC poll shows.
In Utah, one of the more conservative states in the union, 60 percent of residents have an unfavorable view of Obama while 39 percent give him good marks.
Trump, who acknowledged during the campaign he had a "tremendous problem" in Utah, earned the lowest margin of victory in the state of any GOP nominee in modern times, with about 46 percent of the vote.
Ron Fox, an historian who was one of the early Trump supporters in Utah, says over time Trump's approval rating will soar when he takes action.
"If he can address health care, create jobs, he's going to have a favorable rating," Fox said. "Trump has to prove himself to the American people."
Fox notes that Trump's approval rating is consistent with his election but there's room to improve. Trump earned 45.5 percent of Utah's vote in the general election.
"They're more interested to see what he's going to do in the future than what is promised," Fox said.
Utah usually gives Republican presidents much higher approval ratings. Then-President George W. Bush had a 61 percent approval rating in the state midway through his presidency.
The Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll shows a sharp partisan divide in Utah with regard to Trump and Obama.
A remarkable 95 percent of self-identifying Democrats have a very unfavorable view of Trump, while 45 percent of Republicans were somewhat favorable toward the incoming president and 23 percent very favorable. Some 46 percent of unaffiliated voters in the state had a very unfavorable opinion of Trump.
With regard to Obama, the divide continues. Some 73 percent of Democrats held Obama in the very favorable category while 54 percent of Republicans had a very unfavorable view of the outgoing president.
"We are still divided today as we were during the election," said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute.
Perry also notes that Trump's approval rating matches his election win within a percentage point. "He's almost exactly where he was," Perry said, noting Utahns are continuing to be cautious about the incoming president. "It shows a wait-and-see attitude."
And Obama's low approval in Utah isn't surprising, Perry added, because of the dominant conservative bent of the state and Obama's recent action, against the opposition of elected state leaders, to name a new national monument in southeastern Utah.
"President Obama has never been very popular in the state of Utah," Perry said. "Some of these numbers are colored with actions of his in Utah with regard to the Bears Ears National Monument."
The poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from Jan. 9-16, has a margin of 3.98 percent.